Alternate History

Reading-Allentown War (1983: Doomsday)

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Reading-Allentown War
RNG assault
Reading Army National Guard forces advance on Ancient Oaks in preparation for the assault on the township
Date September 1, 2011 - October 4, 2011

(1 month and 3 days)

Location Allentown, former Pennsylvania, United States
Result Decisive Readinger victory
  • Ousting of raider gangs from Allentown
  • Return of the Allentown Transitional Council
  • Expansion of Reading territory
Us-pa-be Provisional Government of Pennsylvania at Reading
  • Reading National Guard

Allentown-pa-flag Allentown Transitional Council

  • Allentown Police Department
Jolly-roger-skull-sword Allentown Mob
Commanders and leaders
Us-pa-be John E. Jones III
  • Us-pa-be Donyell Marshall
  • Us-pa-be John M. Reeser

Allentown-pa-flag Roy C. Afflerbach

Jolly-roger-skull-sword Various gang leaders
5,000 men est. 5,600 - 7,000 men
Casualties and losses
123 killed

509 wounded

est. 1,000 - 2,000 killed and wounded

150 captured
60 defected

The Reading-Allentown War (other sources Reading-Allentown Conflict) was a war fought between the forces of the Provisional Government of Pennsylvania at Reading and raiders based in the city of Allentown, called the Allentown Mob in Readinger sources.


Allentown was ruined after a Soviet missile detonated in nearby Bethlehem, destroying the Bethlehem Steel Works and irradiating the surrounding landscape. As the city government tried to maintain control of their fracturing city, refugees fled the city for safer grounds, to be replaced by gangs and raiders that were sprouting like wild grass after Doomsday. The Allentown Police Department defended the city as best as they could, but as the territory they controlled dwindled, they began thinking of ways to ensure the escape of the government. Slowly, they evacuated their leadership to the nearest stable survivor state, which happened to be neighboring Reading, Pennsylvania. The government officials formed the Allentown Transitional Council, effectively a government-in-exile on the city-state level. Meanwhile, more and more raiders moved into the remains of Allentown, taking advantage of the sudden disappearance of the last semblance of order in the city and taking it over.

As Reading expanded and made contact with neighboring states like State College and Delmarva, the raiders of Allentown began ambushing trade convoys from the three states. At first, losses were minimal, and the convoys got through mostly unscathed, but as the new millennium dawned, their attacks became more audacious, actually beginning to fight border skirmishes with the Reading National Guard. Also, after the raiders acquired World War Two-era surplus bazookas and Vietnam War-era LAW rockets, they began damaging and/or destroying vitally needed trucks and armored vehicles. Still, the Readinger government paid little attention to the problem until 2009, when the governor was killed in an unexpected assassination attempt by the raiders. Reading reeled from this terrible blow, managing to recover only after the 2010 emergency elections, which sent independent John E. Jones III to the governorship. He promised to avenge the former governor's death by overthrowing the raiders from their haven and asked for three thousand volunteers to take up arms and attack the heart of the Allentown Mob, as Jones had begun referring to the lawless bands.


RNG troops standing by for mobilization

Reading National Guard troops standing by for mobilization

Governor Jones declared war on the Allentown Mob on September 1, 2011. The five-thousand strong invasion force, codenamed Odyssey Dawn, moved out on the same day. They arrived at the county border several hours later, and were greeted happily by the citizens of Alburtis and Macungie Townships. The soldiers were happy of this warm greeting, but they knew that the next area they reached may not be as friendly. Scouts were sent out to Ancient Oaks to locate enemy forces in the area, if there were any.

Battle of Ancient Oaks

An estimated seven hundred to one thousand raiders and gangmembers had holed up in Ancient Oaks, commanded by someone identified only as "the Don." "The Don" had been mostly responsible for the border raids on Reading and causing the deaths of twenty-four border guards, making him a high-value target in the eyes of the Readinger government.

Readinger forces entered the area after a small artillery bombardment which targeted the zones where the scouts reported the raiders were. Heading in, they discovered that the raiders had set up a stiff defense, fighting a war of attrition to keep the Readingers away from Allentown as long as possible. It worked for all of seven days, however, and the onsite commanders failed to find "the Don" dead or alive. The Readingers lost six men killed and nineteen wounded, while the raiders lost an estimated one hundred and twenty killed and wounded. Six raiders were captured.

Road to Allentown

RNG APC entering Allentown

A Reading National Guard APC entering Allentown

Resistance was weak as the Readingers advanced towards Allentown, which was the result of a decision by the raider leaders to mass their forces in the city and make their final stand there once they learned of "the Don's" defeat in Ancient Oaks. Brigadier Generals Donyell Marshall and John M. Reeser raised the flag of Reading over Emmaus Borough on September 8.

Battle of Allentown Municipal Airport

RNG humvee at Allentown airport

A Reading National Guard Humvee in Allentown Municipal Airport

As the Readingers prepared to attack the airport, the raiders were establishing defenses like machine gun nests and bunkers around the site. On the first day of the conflict, Reading lost twenty men just taking out a single nest guarding the entrance to the runway. Luckily for them, Kerry Collins, a raider leader who defected to Reading along with his band of raiders, guided them around the defenses and brought them to a more commanding position. Unfortunately, it still took three days before the airport was declared "secured."

Battle of Hamilton Mall

Hamilton Mall had also been turned into a veritable bunker where the defenders could attack their enemies while remaining relatively safe. The battle began on September 12, a day after the airport was taken, and Reading forces lost another twenty personnel before another group of defecting raiders led them to the mall's weak spots of defense, through which they breached their way in and fought for the building "floor by floor, room by room, cubicle by cubicle."[1] Hamilton Mall was finally declared secure on September 25, fourteen days after it was first struck, with a total loss of forty men from Reading killed.

Battle of Center City

RNG sniper aiming at raider defenders

A National Guard sniper aiming at some raider defenders. Note the Virginian-supplied telescopic sight on the M14.

Even though many of Reading's troops were still fighting for Hamilton Mall, Brigadier General Reeser decided to launch an attack on Center City, where it was said that the main leadership body of the Allentown Mob resided. They arrived on September 19 after a bitter fight to the area while under attack, Reeser determined that the Mob's leaders were inside the PPL Building, which had survived the post-Doomsday chaos and turned into a fort by the raiders. He charged his one thousand-personnel detachment with taking the building and the Mob's leaders, dead or alive. The battle lasted for sixteen days, finally ending after the last pockets of resistance were wiped out and the flag of Reading was raised atop the building.


With the uprooting of the raider gangs from Allentown, the raider threat to Reading has been considerably lowered. But although the Reading National Guard managed to capture some of the leaders of the Allentown Mob, others managed to escape to neighboring counties. Still, with the number of men lost, the National Guard concluded that the raiders would take a long time before becoming once again a credible threat to the stability of Reading.


  1. "Battle of Allentown Turning To Urban Quagmire", The Reading Eagle, September 20, 2011

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